For anyone wondering why this title sounds familiar, yes it’s a reissue of one of my Kensington books. Except…the original book was a 2-in-1 anthology. I’ve broken them apart and I’m just releasing Will and Sabrina’s story right now. I’ll be expanding and releasing John’s story in early 2016.
For anyone wondering if Will is really a hitman or maybe he just kills a certain type of person or whatever (IE bad people), lemme paraphrase my critique partner, “He really did kill people?!”
Yes, yes he did.
Eight years ago when — wait…what? Yeah it’s really been that long — I wrote Will and Sabrina’s story, one of my CPs said, you can’t have a hitman as a hero. *coughyesIcancough* The one thing I love about self-publishing? You can pretty much have anything as a hero/heroine (as long as you are willing to accept responsibility for it because, yeah, not everything is going to sell!). The landscape has changed a LOT in the last 8-12 years…and for the better I might add!
Anyway…here’s a peek at HITTIN’ IT (and FYI Roy…is really Will):
As much as I appreciated the ride, Roy’s grumpy “Stoic Man” act was a little off-putting. Then again, I wasn’t in a position to be picky. Hopefully, it wouldn’t take too long to find a garage.
Gads, El Paso! It was so brown and taupe and dreary, the city bleeding into the surrounding landscape, letting the desert eat at it, suck it dry like a vampire. I shuddered, my fingers digging deeper in Scamp’s fur.
“Can you—” I pointed to the fancy control panel on the dash, “—turn the air down?” The arctic blast made me want to curl up in a ball underneath about a dozen blankets.
Grunting, he turned the knob and the air slowed to a Nor’ westerner.
I would have preferred the fresh air (even if it was hot as a jalapeño outside), but after two hours on the side of the road, I’d take what I could get. My stomach rumbled, reminding me I hadn’t had anything to eat since the vending machine donuts I’d grabbed early this morning. No wonder I’d passed out.
“Just thinking about my poor van.” And my poor savings.
“Maybe it’s just a busted hose.”
“Huh, more like a busted engine.” I took another sip of my water, then let Scamp lick my wet fingers.
“You really think it’s that bad?” Roy asked, sounding genuinely worried.
Grimacing at the thought of costly engine repairs, I nodded. “Pretty sure. There’s a garage.” Pointing, I sat up a little straighter, and Scamp wiggled in my lap, scratching at the door.
“Sure that’s the one you want?”
“I don’t care as long as they can fix a Chevy van.”
“All right.” He flicked on his blinker and took the exit. He turned into the little all-purpose gas station (the kind you don’t see much of anymore), and jerked to a stop next to the pump. It was a concrete oasis with peeling paint and basic repair prices painted on the window.
“Will you watch Scamp while I see about a tow?” I scooted the puppy off my lap, holding him in place as I slid out. The Texas heat engulfed me, mercilessly driving away the chill brought on by the SUV’s air conditioner. It was an almost instantaneous combination of sweat and scorched skin.
Roy stared at me as if he wanted to say no, as if he’d like to push the dog and me into the gas station’s parking lot and take off in a squeal of tires, never looking back. “Sure.”
The aviator sunglasses and the bland expression he wore made him unreadable, but something about him made me shiver as I closed the door. Scamp whimpered, his eyes mournful and anxious through the tinted glass. “I’ll be right back,” I mouthed, lightly tapping the glass.
Inside, a window unit blew full tilt, pouring damp, dirty-smelling air into every corner of the empty room. Three chairs were carelessly positioned against one wall, a white counter smudged with grease-stains took up the other, and two metal stands held Thrifty Nickels and Greensheets. A rattling, gasping soda machine that looked almost as old as my van took up the remaining wall. The garage door opened with a cringe-worthy squeal.
“My van broke down outside of town. Can you give me a tow?” And please, God, can it not cost too much? I sucked in my gut and gave him my sweetest smile, hoping to win him over. “And take a look at it.”
Wiping his hands on a red rag, he looked me up and down, a slow grin crossing his sweaty, grease-encrusted face. He wasn’t bad looking, but it had obviously been a while since he’d gotten intimate with the Irish Spring and Mister Razor. He shrugged and glanced over my shoulder toward Roy’s SUV, then stuffed the battered rag into the back pocket of his overalls. “I’m alone today, and pretty backed up.”
Sighing, I forced myself to think of Scamp lying dead in the highway, and how horrible I’d feel if I lost my only friend. Tears filled my eyes and a lump clogged my throat, while my fingers knotted in my skirt. “I really…” I sniffed, waving my hands around helplessly.
“We close at six.” He moved closer, close enough for me to see the avaricious gleam in his clear blue eyes and inhale the scent of his sweat mixed with grease. “I can take you out there then. Check out your van.”
Check out my pussy was more like it. I bit my lip and raised my shoulder, getting ready to give him a nice healthy shrug, when the door jangled and Scamp barked.
“Your dog pissed in my car.” Roy stood holding Scamp like he was some sort of diseased rodent, one hand gripping the scruff of his neck, one under his belly. Scamp didn’t look at all contrite. Or happy.
“I…” I glanced from Roy to Scamp to Garage Dude. “I’m really sorry.” I reached for my puppy.
“What’s wrong with your van?” the mechanic asked.
“It overheated,” I said.
“I thought you said the engine was shot,” Roy added, taking away my chance to act dumb and helpless later when Garage Dude came to tell me that I’d probably blown the van’s heads. They’d been on their last legs anyway, but I’d hoped the engine would hold out until after the fair in San Antonio when I’d be a little more flush.
“I said I hoped it wasn’t.” I gave him a pointed look, praying he’d shut up before he cost me anymore money.
“Can you fix her van?” Roy demanded, brushing at the front of his immaculate yellow polo shirt.
“I already told her it’d be after six before I could even go out there and get it.”
Roy asked, leveling his gaze on me. “You staying here then?”
“I’m…yeah.” I nodded and sighed, glad I’d have Scamp for company. My options were stay here…or stay here, and it was going to be a long day, regardless.
“I’ll take care of her.” Garage Dude grinned, nodding in Roy’s direction.
I had a feeling the engine repairs were going to cost me big time. With one last sigh, I followed Roy outside. “Thanks again for the ride.”
He slipped his sunglasses off, revealing warm grey eyes and a fierce scowl. “You sure you want to stay here?”
Apparently , Roy wasn’t as dense as I’d thought back there in the garage. From the concern on his face, he’d obviously figured out exactly how much those repairs were going to cost me. And how I planned on paying for them. His concern caught me off guard and made me sad. I almost wished our ride had lasted a little longer. That I’d had a little more time to see what was under that stoic exterior.
“I’m sure. But thanks.”